Eraser screwed up my hard drive...


New Member
Hi. I did a LOT of research on programs that I could get to fully clean my hard drive free space (especially the free ones) before deciding to download Eraser. I read about Eraser on several different websites and decided to try it out. One the main things that I wanted whatever program that I decided to get was to wipe out free space. I already have Sure Delete on here but I am not sure how "good" it really is. So I decided to try Eraser, and now I wish that I wouldn't have...

I am a very experienced computer user. I have been building computers for over 10 years and my current setup is a custom watercooled computer. I built this system a little over a year ago (not the watercooled part of it, I have been using the watercooled setup for 5-6 years or so) and it has ran flawlessly since I built it. It is not a kit or anything, it's all components that I bought and built the system with. I'm just mentioning this so you know that I'm not some inexperienced user that doesn't know what they are doing. I'm the guy that everyone that knows me calls when they have something wrong with their computer. Anyway...

Last night I decided to use the program for the first time. All I was using it for was to erase the free space on the drive. I knew that if I used the Peter Gutmann 35 pass method that it would take forever, so I decided to go with the Gutmann 10 pass method. I started running the program right before I went to bed. Before I ran the program I had 120GB of free space on a Western Digital VelociRaptor WD3000HLFS 300 gig drive. When I got up today and turned my monitor back on I immediately saw that something had gone very wrong. My desktop was there and all of that, but Eraser said that it had "completed with errors". I closed the program and checked my drive to see what it was showing for free space and I only had about 6MB (megabytes) free. There was also the normal nagging windows warning of low free space on my drive.

Does anyone have any idea why it did this? Has anyone else had this happen? I did some research after this happened and saw a lot of posts saying that there used to be some bug in the program where it wiped out your files, sometimes windows itself. So I guess I got "lucky" there. But I have no free space now. Is there a way to get it back or am I just screwed? I thought about maybe running Eraser again to see if it would fix the problem that it created, but I decided not to bother trying that.

I used Sure Delete to do this same thing before I used Eraser and it worked perfect. But I only ran Sure Delete with 5 passes and decided that I wanted to use something else to wipe it even further. I guess maybe I shouldn't have worried about it. But I wanted to make sure that my free space was clean and that nothing in the free space would be able to ever be recovered.

I am running Windows XP with SP3. The drive is formatted with NTFS. I closed ALL other running programs before starting Eraser last night. I forgot to mention too that (I don't think it would work anyway?) but I have no restore points to revert back to since it did this. Since Windows automatically deleted all of them to try to free up space on the drive on its own. I used to always disable System Restore for performance reasons, but I decided to leave it enabled on this installation since it does come in useful sometimes.

Thanks for the help.
For anyone that is interested I figured out how to fix this problem. Eraser creates folders in Local Disk (C:),the main folder on your primary hard drive. On my computer they were at the bottom of the page. Anyway, I checked the size of these folders and they were all pretty huge and had very odd names. I didn't write the names of them down, but there were 3 of these folders. I opened all of them up and they were all filled with the same type of files with random weird filenames. I deleted the 3 folders and now have all of my free space back.

I'm glad that I did some looking around in there before I did anything drastic. I was ready to run dban and just reload XP. But I didn't really want to do that. If my system was sluggish whatsoever I probably would have just reloaded XP. But this thing is so fast that even after over a year of use (with good maintenance) everything on this computer is instant. So for now I'm not going to bother reloading XP. I'm just glad that I have my free space back. I won't be using Eraser again... :roll:
Thanks for your feedback. The Eraser FAQ document the issue you describe; in my book, it's an irritant rather than a show stopper, provided you know that all you have to do is delete one or more folders. I understand the frustration but tend to reserve the term 'screw up' for something that's a bit harder to fix. :)

Even the Gutmann 10 pass method is overkill. Current thinking is that a single pass is sufficient, certainly for wiping free space.

If you are still using XP, Eraser 5.8.8 - the final Version 5 release - will still work well for you. It can be downloaded from the Eraser page on Sourceforge.